Childhood hearing loss: Impact on parents and family life

Jesper Dammeyer*, Anja Toft Hansen, Kathryn Crowe, Marc Marschark

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Studies investigating the impact of having a child with hearing loss on the lives of parents and families have shown divergent results. Where some studies have reported that childhood hearing loss is associated with parental mental health problems, such as depression and stress, other studies report no impact on parental mental health and/or wellbeing. Objective: The aim of this study was to examine the association between child-related variables—degree of hearing loss, additional disabilities, sign language abilities, cochlear implants (CI), externalizing and internalizing emotional and behavioral difficulties measured by the Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ)—and parent-related variables—parents living together, parents' mental health, spouse activities without children, and parents’ experience of the child as being a burden for the family. Method: Data of 257 parents of children with hearing loss from a national survey were included. Results: Only 18% of the children with hearing loss did not live with both parents, a figure significantly lower than that of the general population. The child variables of degree of hearing loss, having a CI or not, and sign language ability were not significantly associated with any of the parent variables investigated. The child having a disability in addition to hearing loss was found to be significantly associated with the frequency of spouses engaging in activities without children and reports that the child was a burden for the family. Both higher externalizing and internalizing scores on the SDQ were significantly associated with parental mental health problems, frequency of spouse activities without children, and the degree to which the child's difficulties were experienced as a burden for the family. Conclusion: Children's hearing loss, per se, was found not to be significantly related to several key parent and family variables. However, children having additional disabilities and behavioral and emotional difficulties were significant with parent and family variables. This study thus underlines the need for further studies concerning relationships among factors related to childhood hearing loss and various family factors in order to better understand their impact on child development and family life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140-145
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology
Publication statusPublished - May 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019

Other keywords

  • Children
  • Families
  • Hearing loss
  • Parents
  • Well-being


Dive into the research topics of 'Childhood hearing loss: Impact on parents and family life'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this